updated 15 Jun 2012, 19:17
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Tue, Jan 03, 2012
The New Paper
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'I did it to protect my girl'
by Kwok Kar Peng

SHE lost her temper in front of her child during a quarrel with a taxi driver in June last year.

Yesterday, TV host Quan Yifeng was given a 15-month probation for committing mischief by pulling out the taxi fare meter and spilling water on the receipt printer in the cab.

After her sentencing, Quan, 37, held a press conference in her lawyer's office.

She is sorry for her behaviour, she said, but hopes the public understands she had done it to protect her daughter, 11, who was hurt, scared and insulted.

The district judge had said these were mitigating factors, but they did not justify what she had done.

Quan claimed that the cabby, Mr Chan Swee Kong, had insulted her daughter by saying that the girl doesn't have a father.

Quan divorced in 2009 from former actor Peter Yu.

However, in a hearing last month, deputy public prosecutor Eunice Chong denied that Mr Chan had made the comment to the girl.

Yesterday, The New Paper asked Quan if she was a bad influence on her daughter.

She didn't answer directly, choosing instead to tell us that good things had resulted because of her outburst. She said she had even told her daughter that they should be thankful for the incident.

"It's because of this that my daughter and I confronted our emotional problems," said Quan, who has a history of clinical depression.

"My daughter now understands me better, and it's not just that mummy has a bad temper.

She understands the stress I go through and how much I want to protect her.

"We are now closer and braver in confronting my emotional mood swings. We know how to face, forgive and settle them."

Quan was accompanied by her grand-aunt, ex-TV host Mary Chen Ming Li, and lawyer Subhas Anandan at the 43-minute press conference.

She was speaking to the media for the first time since she got into the dispute.

Her hands trembled uncontrollably during the press conference, and she had to grip both hands together to hide the trembling.

But she was determined to paint a picture of how she and her daughter had recovered from the incident to become stronger.

Learning from her mistake

Quan, who said she still takes cabs, hopes that the public can learn from her mistake. She said: "It's tough for cabbies to be on the road for long hours and we should empathise with them."

When asked how she felt about her detractors, she said: "I'm very sad I disappointed them. I may have to do a lot of things to regain public favour, and this is my punishment...

"But it always takes two hands to clap, and you only see one side of the story."

To show her resolve to start afresh, Quan said she would quit smoking to thank her grand-aunt for her support during this period.

With the $12 she will save each day from buying cigarettes, she intends to accumulate the sum and donate the money to charity at the end of each year.

She also promised to continue with her psychiatric treatments and to change her bad temper.

"I learnt to put down the enmity between myself and other people. I have a different view to a lot of things now," he said.

"I don't need someone to be with me in life. I can walk on my own and still be strong. I'm not afraid to face similar situations again."

Quan also talked about how the last 11/2 years had been difficult for her and her daughter.

Her daughter came home crying for more than a week after the incident because her schoolmates did not believe she had sustained a bruise on her forehead in the taxi incident. The children thought that Quan had deliberately pushed her against a wall.

Said Quan: "My daughter screamed when she slept, and I didn't know if it was out of fear, or hatred towards men."

She sent the girl for counselling, a period of eight months which she described as an emotional torture.

Quan said she blames herself fully for the grief her daughter went through.

She added that she was once so disappointed in life she wished she could go to sleep and never wake up.

"My grand-aunt flew to Thailand to pray for me even though the country was in chaos because of the Red Shirt protesters," she said.

"I realised I had to help myself. I blame myself so much that, if I don't help myself, I can't be a good mother and I can't be filial to my aunt too."

Work-wise, Quan said her employers and colleagues at MediaCorp have been very supportive, and admitted that there were some programmes she couldn't do this year because of her lawsuit.

She hasn't discussed her new work arrangements or workload with the company, she added.

Other run-ins


Quan was involved in a fight with a bowling alley attendant and was fined $1,000. 1996

Five days later, Quan drove without a licence and caused an accident. She was fined $1,300 in September (left). Shortly after that, she was fired by the Television Corporation of Singapore.


The owner of a car workshop said Quan was rude and had uttered vulgarities when she went to get her car repaired there. Quan said the other party was the one who had been rude.


A contractor accused Quan Yifeng of making an obscene sign and scolding him with vulgarities. She had apparently been upset because he was driving too slowly. Quan later said she scolded him because she had been provoked.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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